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Conducting Research

Below are some of the key differences between the 2008 Guidebook and the 2019 Guidebook. Please read the entire 2019 Guidebook to become familiar with all of the current requirements for archaeological investigations in Indiana.

Archaeology Guidebook
  • P. 2- Definitions regarding what is considered an archaeological site have been supplemented with information from National Register Bulletin 36.
  • Pp. 3, 4- Examples have been added regarding the types of deficiencies/problems which will be documented by the DHPA regarding a Principal Investigator and his or her work (as it relates to the Qualified Professionals Roster).
  • P. 5- A statement has been added pointing out that in light of previously inconsistent survey methods and changes in archaeological standards over time, old surveys may not meet current federal review standards. 
  • P. 8- If snow is present, shovel testing is now allowable provided that there is no more than two inches of snow cover.
  • Pp. 8, 9- Exceptions/special cases regarding shovel probe methodology have been addressed regarding, for example, collector reported sites, McGregor sites, areas of suspected past disturbance, etc.
  • P. 10- An exemption has been added regarding historical isolates.  If the Qualified Professional in the field (the Field Supervisor or Principal Investigator) meets the state qualification standards in Midwestern historical archaeology (312 IAC 21-3-4 (b) or (c)) and is thoroughly familiar with the ages and functions of historical artifacts, then thorough collections of artifacts of recent origin (Appendix B) need not be made.  If a historical isolate that is of recent origin is not collected, and it lacks integrity and context, then the artifact will be noted in the report, but not recorded as a site. [Normally isolated finds are recorded as sites].
  • P. 11- The Indiana Archaeological Short Report is now acceptable for reporting on the results of investigation of previously recorded sites where the current investigation did not identify artifacts and/or features.
  • P. 17- Phase III investigation guidance has been added.
  • P. 19- The Principal Investigator’s responsibilities regarding proposal of non-curation of artifacts have been addressed.
  • P. 19- Report submission deadline has been changed from 6 months to 1 year after completion of fieldwork, unless otherwise specified by an approved plan or other arrangements are made with the DHPA.
  • Pp. 25-31 New appendices have been added: Recording Linear Resources; Archaeological Investigations and Recording Archaeological Resources; and Qualification Requirements for Principal Investigator.

Conducting Research at DHPA

Once you have been listed on our qualified professional list, you may contact our office about scheduling a records check.

  • The DHPA has an online database (SHAARD) where you can find many of the site forms and archaeology reports for Indiana. Not all forms or reports are yet in SHAARD, but more are being entered every day. Access to SHAARD is currently free.
  • How to schedule an appointment: Call our office (317) 234-1034 or email at DHPArecordscheck@dnr.IN.gov. Records check appointments for qualified individuals are currently available Monday through Friday, 9 am - 4 pm. These slots fill up quickly, so be sure to call as soon as you know you will need an appointment.
  • Provide the office with your information request.
  • Note: The Indiana DHPA charges fees for archaeological records checks at a rate of $35 per half hour.
  • The following procedure is in effect: When you arrive, please check in with the Records Check Coordinator, in room W-274 (Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology). The Records Check Coordinator will assist you by filling in the start time and end time on your Archaeology Public Information Request Tracking sheet, as well as the number of copies you have made. She will assist you with any questions you might have during your records check, and when you have finished, she can accept payment by credit card, cash, or check. You may be billed later.
  • If there is no one at the DHPA front desk when you arrive, please ring the bell and you will be helped. Visitors are not allowed past the DHPA front office. In addition, please keep all valuables with you at all times when in the Indiana Government Center, as the state is not responsible for lost or stolen property. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Recording archaeological sites in our state:

  • The DHPA distributes the archaeological site numbers in Indiana. Once a professional archaeologist has discovered a site(s), call our office (317) 234-5254 to request archaeological site number. County designations for Indiana archaeological sites numbers are provided.
  • Each recording of, survey of, or re-survey of an archaeological site needs to be recorded in SHAARD. Hard copy site forms, which were formerly obtained from the DHPA, are no longer accepted.
  • Completing a cemetery registry survey form. For archaeologists who discover or investigate a cemetery in Indiana, a reminder that we encourage you to fill out the Cemetery Registry survey form and submit it to our office in addition to the archaeological site form.

Staying informed in the field

  • Archaeology News is a free monthly e-newsletter on Indiana Archaeology. If you would like to sign up, contact MyDNR. To see the archive of past issues, go here.
  • Download the Guide to State Preservation Services and Indiana’s Cultural Resources Management Plan 2005-2011. These documents will acquaint you with the many services offered by our office as well as the preservation and archaeological goals for the state.
  • Sign up for Eavesdropping, the Division's bi-monthly e-newsletter.
  • Participate in Indiana Archaeology Month. This is a great way to become more involved in archaeology in our state.
  • Become familiar with the laws which protect archaeological sites in Indiana.
  • Read the archaeological publications available from our office.
  • Learn about archaeology grant opportunities available from our office.

Conducting Archaeological Fieldwork

In an effort to reduce time and paper, the DHPA archaeological staff, with the assistance of the INDOT CRS archaeological staff has developed an Archaeological Short Report format. This format may be used for archaeological records checks and Phase 1a Reconnaissance regardless of acreage provided that no previously recorded sites are present and that no new sites are found. When an archaeological site, which includes isolated finds, is encountered, a full written report following guidance provided in the Current Guidebook for Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory—Archaeological Sites and the Indiana Cultural Resources Manual will need to be submitted. For projects being conducted under IC 14-21-1, be aware of the requirements of 312 IAC 21-3-8 (d) regarding an abbreviated project completion report and 312 IAC 21-3-8 (e) regarding an archaeological records check or literature search.

Although strongly encouraged, the use of the Archaeological Short Report format is not mandatory and if you choose to complete a full written report, you may do so. The short report should be submitted the same way one would submit an archaeological records check or Phase 1a Reconnaissance report.

If you chose to use the Archaeological Short Report format, please note that all of the fields must be filled in and that handwritten forms will not be accepted. Incomplete or inaccurate forms will be returned to the submitter without comment. Additionally, upon review, the form may also be returned to the submitter with the request that a full written report be provided.

When asked to undertake an archaeological project, please make sure that you have documentation that authorizes that work. If the project is being conducted under Section 106, the client or lead federal agency should be able to provide you with a copy of documentation that the work is being required. If the project is being conducted on state property, you must have documentation that an approved plan (under Indiana Code [IC] 14-21-1) for the work has been issued. In addition, if the activity is to be conducted on private property, and isn’t conducted under Section 106, an approved plan under IC 14-21-1 is also required if any level of work beyond surface survey will be conducted. Always make sure that landowner permission has been obtained, and that curation issues have been addressed as well. It is also best if you carry the documentation requiring the investigation with you in the field in case you are questioned by law enforcement officials. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office at (317) 232-1646.

Archaeological Qualifications

Archaeologists who wish to work in Indiana or conduct records checks must meet certain qualifications. Questions regarding these qualifications, should be directed to the DHPA at (317) 232-1646 or SHAARDAdmin@dnr.IN.gov.

To see the qualification requirements for work in Indiana, see: